#45 From Hemingway to Humpty Dumpty and back…

As I look out the window today and feel the pressure of too much to do and too little time to do it, I wonder if this is the fate of most writers who lead a “normal” life with chores, responsibilities, family, household, odd jobs, and so on. Growing up, I was a big Hemingway fan. I would read his work and imagine a writer much like the one presented in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. When I moved to Paris, I would go by the Café he use to sit in near Montparnasse and imagine how wonderful it must have been to sit in that café and just write. Apparently legend has it that Hemingway moved to Paris from Illinois, because at the time it was cheaper to live there and that is where the “intelligent” people of the time were. I too moved to Paris from Illinois because it was cheaper to attend a prestigious college there and I admit I wished for lavish conversations on the condition of humanity over a glass of cheap Bordeaux. Needless to say real life caught up with me and I didn’t exactly have existential conversations like in a black and white Godard film during my Parisian years. Everything I had romanticized back then about living in Paris and attending a French university, following in the footsteps of someone like Hemingway, sort of came tumbling down, like Humpty Dumpty on a sad attempt to escape his scrambled egg fate. Maybe the condition of writers during Hemingway’s lifetime was very different from today’s professionals. Wait, I know where the problem lies. I’m not really a writer; I’m a screenwriter. I write in images, for a public, to sell. I guess that’s where I went wrong. I fell in love with the wrong profession. I should’ve stuck to good ol’ writing. It’s tangible. You publish it, somewhere, somehow, with or without funds, but you can get it out there and people will read it. Nobody outside the business reads a screenplay in his or her spare time and it’s only tangible when it becomes a film, something that may never happen. Filmmaking is like trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, with all the king’s horses and all the king’s men trying desperately to finance it. At least the rhyme lives on forever. Unlike Hemingway I don’t get to spend days in a café and unlike Humpty, we aren’t really allowed great falls, but I’m still hopeful (for the isolated days in a café, not the fall, sorry Humpty). In the meantime I, maybe somewhat like you, have to deal with life while trying to isolate myself from it to be able to write about it. At least we are in it together. 

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One thought on “#45 From Hemingway to Humpty Dumpty and back…

  1. I know of many who moved to Berlin coz it’s (still) much cheaper these days than Illinois, Paris or – yep – Munich. And some of the movers I know do sit in a cafe, with one coffee from 9-5 and one wine from 5-11, coz they are heating on coal and one coffee and one wine is cheaper than heating the house all day in winter.
    Not sure though if these new-Berliners ever will impress young readers and writers succeeding them…

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